Owning your own business and being your own boss is great.
It feels awesome to not have to answer to anyone but yourself, and to work hard knowing that all the money you are making is yours to do with as you please. One of the easiest ways you can start and own your own business today is by setting up an online business.
Online businesses are getting more and more popular by the day, especially with people who crave a certain level of freedom in their lives.
If this is you, chances are you have been looking around at several possible online business opportunities you can venture into. One of the most lucrative of these is Affiliate Marketing. If you are interested in affiliate marketing, this article has been written for you. Here is how to get started in affiliate marketing for newbies.
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is a business model that involves promoting someone else’s products and earning a commission from it.
You do not personally own any products as an affiliate marketer, you just simply get paid to help someone else sell theirs. This makes affiliate marketing a unique business with many benefits, such as:
1. Uncapped income potential
There is no limit to how much you can make from affiliate marketing. The beauty of it is in the fact that the more you sell, the more money you make. This means you stand a chance to potentially make a lot of money from Affiliate Marketing, just like many people before you already have. The sky is the limit.
Affiliate marketing offers you the sort of freedom that a normal 9 to 5 job never can. With affiliate marketing, you are your own boss. You pick your own hours, decide how much you want to work each day, and determine just how much money you can make within a given period. This freedom is what attracts so many people to affiliate marketing. It feels great not to be tied down.
Job security is a beautiful thing. I know a lot of friends who lost their jobs and had no idea how to start over. They were left out in the cold, with no source of income and a lot of bills to pay.
With affiliate marketing, you are your own boss. You cannot fire yourself unless you choose to quit. if you chose to do this on a part-time basis, then being able to have an extra source of income apart from your normal job gives you financial security.
You can finally enjoy the joys of life worry-free, without the anxiety of when your next paycheck is coming in.
HOW DOES AFFILIATE MARKETING WORK?
Affiliate marketing is simple (not easy!). All you need to do is follow a series of simple steps and you will be well on your way to making money:
1. Pick a Niche
2. Build a site
3. Attract readers
Let’s get into each one of these steps!
PICK A NICHE
Picking a niche is all about choosing a target audience. Who are you going to be helping? If you are a newbie, you should consider starting with something you are passionate about. Here is why:
-When you pick something you are passionate about, you already know a lot about it. Being somewhat of an expert in a subject goes a long way in building credibility and trust in your site’s visitors.
-If you are passionate about something, you can probably spend a lot of time talking about it or writing about it. This is important because you will need to be able to stick with your subject for a long time. Do not pick something you can get bored with easily, because it will show in your attitude to your site and in your content.
Once you have a niche, you need to figure out the problem that your niche has. Is it well documented? Do people know about it? What are the most common questions people have about it? What have you seen, heard or read? Do you think it could be better? How?
When you do your research and find your niche’s problems and pain points, you will then be in a great position to find the right solutions to help them. More about this in the monetization section further down.
That is all well and good! How do you actually research your niche’s problems and pain points? I will try to show you one way to do it. There are many other ways but I find that this way works well for me. I do research into a niche by digging through forums.. Let’s see what we can find.
I will try a niche that I am not in to illustrate the process more realistically.
I will look at the pain points that dog owners may encounter. Yes I know, we all know about dog barking and pooping/peeing in the house, but good luck competing on those.
So to start, I think of a term or terms that I would use if I had dog issues. I would use the term “how to stop” or “train a dog not to”. My process is to start my search looking for forums so the first thing I think of is “dog training”. To search in Google, you just add “forum” to the term. Like this:
There are a ton of forums. This is great sign. Let’s look at the first one:
Look at posts that say “help”. These are usually people that are at wits end! Also look at posts with the most replies and engagement. These are usually full of back and forth and can yield tasty morsels of info.
Wow! look at all those problems-right there in the first page of the first forum. This screen shot represents only 1/2 of the first page! Just glancing at the posts we can see a few problems:
-Dogs on the bed
-Refusing to climb indoor steps – who knew this was a problem?
So I clicked on the post about leash behavior and found a few more tidbits of info:
Here is one of the responses to the OP’s question
This response alone tells me a few things. “Loose leash walking” is a thing that exists and that will help this person. The other thing I learn is the term reactivity to dogs. These are two more things to add to my arsenal. In fact there is even a link to a course in this post (I have not clicked on it to investigate).
This was a 3-minute research and I have already come up with a fair amount of “pain points” and behavior related terms that are worth looking further into.
Now imagine if you spent 2 or 3 hours doing this. There are a ton of posts in this forum alone! If you follow these instructions I am confident that you will be able to identify the problems that your niche is trying to solve.
This research is absolutely crucial. This is not the only way to go about researching a niche. I am sure there are many more ways to do this. This is the way I do it and it works well for me. I hope it helps you in some way.
BUILD A SITE
The next step is building a site. This is absolutely crucial to your success online.
There are Gurus selling courses and programs that claim affiliate marketing success without a website – They are full of poop! Look closely and you will find that EVERYONE of them is pushing the course through their own websites!
True, you can make commissions from social networks alone. But these will be onesy twosies. They will be very sporadic in frequency. Onesy, twosy and sporadic are not terms that you want associated to your business. If you want a reliable, steady income that grows over time and that you can rely on to live—–you need a site, period!
There are a few steps yo need to take in order to build a site:
1. Pick a domain name:
What name do you want your business to have? this is also very important. You want to strive for a domain that ends in “.com”. You also want to make sure you avoid Hyphens at all costs.
When it comes to having your keyword in the domain, there are 2 schools of thought. One says that you need to have the keyword in order to improve your SEO. The other says that you need a short name that is brandable.
I believe that you need to have a niche related KW in your domain. Look at the name of this site!
Having said that, look at sites like neilpatel.com It is a beautiful resource with tons of amazing material (I learned a lot from it). He clearly focuses on branding and name recognition. It obviously works since the guy makes millions per year!
2. Use tools to build a blog or website:
There are many tools available that can help you get your website up and running for cheap.
Here is a video of the tool I used to create this very site:
There are other ways of creating a site but none are as easy as the one shown above! I absolutely love it!
3. Backup your site.
For Pete’s sake! Please back up your site. Even if it is one day old. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I have heard because someone was too busy, lazy or distracted to perform this 3 minute operation that could potentially save their business.
Today’s hosting services are rock solid. Chances are you will use WordPress and it too is solid. But stuff happens. You have to mess with plugins, make small code changes. 99% of the time all is well. It is that one percent that will kill your business.
Down time is the absolute nemesis of your business. Every minute you are offline messing with your website back end/office (pun intended), is money lost.
Backing up your site is the answer. It is the answer to downtime, lost content and a major pain in the keester!
It is very simple. Here is how to do it in WordPress:
-Go to your admin area and click on tools ==> Export
– Chose what you want to export. You will choose “all content” and download the file to your PC
– Now just save the file somewhere on your PC for use in case of emergency! Its that easy. For the life of me I cannot understand why people will not protect their livelihood when it is this simple.
4. Treat your site like real estate:
Your site is a valuable asset that can be sold like physical real estate. You need to continuously add value to it and make it more valuable just like physical real estate.
There is a market for buying and selling your site. There are a few things that will determine how much your site will sell for. Age of the domain is one, and there is really very little you can do about that. Traffic content and income are big factors in how much a website can fetch. You certainly have a lot of influence on those factors.
Sites sell every day for unbelievable amounts of money. I sometimes visit flippa.com to check out what is out there. Here is a screenshot I just took:
This is serious money! Bottom line is to treat your site like real life real estate. It is a valuable asset that you will own and that can bring you a big chunk of change in an emergency!
Fresh content is the literal lifeline of your affiliate marketing website. Without content, there is no traffic. Without traffic, you cannot make money. This is why you need to constantly generate original and helpful content for your site. It is the best way to gain the trust of your readers. Plus, good content translates to better ranking with search engines. This will help your site get discovered more easily.
So in keeping with the theme of this post, how do you do it?
1. Pick the target keyword:
You need a good keyword tool for this. You can use free ones to start. Essentially you are looking for keywords that are not too competitive but have some level of traffic. I use a KW tool called Jaxxy. I look for keywords that have less than 50 QSR (competition) and more than 10 instances of traffic monthly.
Yes I know! It is not a lot of traffic, but this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You will need a boat load (technical word for “a lot”) of articles. The good news is that your site will gain authority. As it does, you will be able to target Keywords that are more competitive.
Here is an example using Jaxxy. I am looking at the urban gardening niche. After some research I came up with this:
Make sure to target keywords that make sense. “gardening for beginners what to” does not make any sense. Don’t’t target it no matter how tempting it looks. You are writing for humans, not Google so your content needs to make sense.
There are a couple of good ones here. Lets say we pick “hydroponic gardening for beginners”. It fits into my criteria and the keyword actually makes sense.
The next thing I do is plug the KW into Google to see what comes up:
The returns from Google show me a few things. The first position (below the snippet) is held by a fairly recent post. The other posts appear to be fairly old. The post in the first position is well written and very detailed. It has 1651 words. The rest of the sites on this page are “normal” bloggers. All this tells me that this is a good KW.
Now that I know my competition, I just need to write a better and longer article than the one that is in first position. I will work on an article that is more thorough than my competition. It will also be longer, so I will shoot for 2000 words minimum
The next thing I would do is open each of the posts on this page and start researching the subject.
2. Create an outline and flesh out the article:
Then I would start my article/post by creating an outline. This outline should have an intro, at least 5 paragraph titles and a conclusion. Next, fill in each paragraph using the info you researched. Please do no plagiarize. It will hurt your site (Google does not like duplicate content) and it simply is not ethical.
Before you know it you will have an article of 2000 words that is ready to be published and read by your adoring audience!
The goal is to rank on the first page of google, preferably at the top. Picking these low competition KWs, along with excellent content (in length and substance) improves your chances of getting the article to rank high. There are two very important points to share before we move on.
First is Keyword density. This refers to how many times your keyword should appear in a post for SEO purposes. A few years back, it was necessary to stuff your articles with the KW in order to clearly tell the search engines what you were writing about. Nowadays, the search engines are so advanced that you don’t need to do that at all.
You only need the KW in the intro, preferably close to the beginning. Scroll up and look at the phrase I have bolded in my intro. That is the KW I was targeting for this article. It does not appear more than once in this whole post.
Here is my second point on this subject. You may be thinking that the criteria that I shared earlier for picking a KW seem very restrictive. The traffic may seem too low to be worth it. If you thought this, you are correct. The reason for these criteria is two fold. The keywords we target will be low competition. Many will not have attracted any authority sites. This will make it easier to rank first.
The other reason is that articles don’t only rank for one keyword. They will turn up on page one for many random keywords that you never even anticipated. The important thing here is to get good, relevant, original content out there in a consistent manner.
This is where the magic happens. It is at this stage that you start earning money. It is vital that you have the first three steps done right if you want to maximize your earning potential.
You will need traffic if you want to make money from our blog. It may take a few months before you get enough traffic and start earning. No matter what you do, make sure you stick with it. Most people quit before they even make a dime. Don’t quit! The rewards are well worth it!
Before I go into a step-by-step demonstration of how to monetize your blog, please allow me get on my soap box for a minute.
I am going to show you a quick overview of finding products to recommend to your audience. Remember that you have to do a lot more research than this before you recommend anything. You will need to research multiple products. Look into each one and decide on the best one for your readers. Please notice I said “best one” and not the one that pays you the biggest commission!
OK let’s move on 🙂
I usually look at some of the big affiliate networks first. In this case I am looking into clickbank. I put in the KW dog training and adjusted the minimum gravity to 9. The gravity in clickbank is an indicator in clickbank that affiliates were actually successful in getting a referral for the product—-meaning it sells!
From the screenshot above, you can see that there are 3 promising courses in clickbank. I would investigate further and look at each sales page to see if the courses address any of the pain points that we identified in our earlier niche research.
I opened the sales of the first one and did a cursory look around and noticed it mentioned fixing the issue of pulling on a leash. Remember “loose leash walking” from our pain point research earlier? Bingo
I could go on and on and this article will never end 🙂 You get the point I hope. If leash training was the problem you had decided to help solve for your readers then you have a good starting point. You can do this research in other affiliate networks or if you want to go nuclear, simply go to Google and type in Dog training + Affiliate.
There will literally be thousands of choices. Your job will be to investigate these programs and determine which one is the BEST to solve your audience’s pain/problems.
Once you start making money, you need to make sure that the high quality and standards of your site are maintained at all costs. You need to select only the best offers. Furthermore, these offers need to be 100% relevant to your niche.
An irrelevant offer may offer you a good cash boost now, but it hurts your business in the long run. Finally, do not treat your niche like an ATM. You need to build your business and add value to your niche, not just make money from it.
I know this article was a bit long. But I wanted to make it full of good usable content. You learned how to research a niche, pick a domain, build a site and back it up. You learned the process I use to select a keyword and how I go about writing content. Finally you learned some ways to identify the best products to market to your audience.
It is a lot to learn and remember I know.
If you are new or even an intermediate affiliate marketer, I want to offer you some more help. Everything I shared with you today I learned from an online affiliate marketing community called Wealthy Affiliate.
I would like to offer you the opportunity to join me there for FREE!
You will have access to the same courses and tools (the 30-second site creation tool from the video above included) I use day in and day out.
You can stay a free member for as long as you like. This gives you time to use all the resources that will be available to you at your own pace. You will have plenty of time to explore, and learn by doing. The free resources will allow you to have a site up and ready to make you money!
I really hope you check it out! You really have nothing to lose.
What are some of the questions you have regarding this post? Are there other ways you do keyword research or content creation? I would love to hear from you. Please leave me comments or questions below. I will answer them as soon as I can!
To your affiliate success,